Is there a Depression Gene?


‘Depression could be linked to a single gene, according to Dutch scientists’ This is interesting; if we had a test for a ‘depression...

‘Depression could be linked to a single gene, according to Dutch scientists’

This is interesting; if we had a test for a ‘depression gene’ this could play a role in how depression is diagnosed and would affect future treatments. However, a single gene has not been clearly linked to depression and it is acknowledged that environmental factors will still play a major part i.e. ones lifestyle. It is likely that genetic causes will be due to the combined effect of many different genes so this is unlikely to be linked to a treatment in the near future.

Depression and Diet

What is interesting however is the concept of nutrigenomics which is an area of research studying the effect of diet on our genes. Research suggests that certain foods and diets may be able to alter the expression of our genetic information. If this is proven to be true it means that if you do carry a certain gene, e.g. for depression, in some cases you may be able to alter whether that gene is expressed i.e. whether having a depression gene actually results in you feeling depressed. The concepts of nutrigenomics i.e. how diet may affect gene expression is an exciting area and one that may result in a treatment or preventative measure that is based on diet. At best this is highly unlikely to be harmful. Focussing on diet is likely to have wider gains to ones physical and mental health so is a very exciting area of research.

Dr Sally Cubbin, Consultant Psychiatrist is commenting following reading this article:

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*McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey.

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